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Greater Richmond Issues, Actions and Events

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Hello Friends,

Last week Governor McDonnell  was very busy proposing amendments to bills which will be reconsidered by the General Assembly today. If you don’t have time to read this entire update, skip down to the TAKE ACTION section now for time-critical information.

In this issue you will find events and information on:

– restrictions on reproductive health care

– Richmond Slave Trail

– screening of documentary film on targeting undocumented immigrants

– GLBT rallies

– women’s health rally

– important action items for the Wednesday reconvening of the Virginia General Assembly including attacks on:

    – reproductive health restrictions

    – GLBT foster care and adoptions, and

    – insurance coverage for autism

Please submit your organization’s events to ActionUpdate@me.com for consideration for inclusion.

CALENDAR OF EVENTS:



Thursday, April 7, 11:00 – 12:30 p.m. (Rally)

Stand Up for Women’s Health Rally and Lobby Day

On the National Mall, in front of the Capitol Reflecting Pool

between Third and Fourth Streets

Washington, DC

Planned Parenthood and ACLU Virginia are providing a bus to their Stand Up for Women’s Health Rally and Lobby Day in D. C. The national rally and lobby day is in preparation for Congressional votes on funding for Planned Parenthood, Title X family planning services, and abortion access.

This is our opportunity to show Congress that Virginia stands up for women’s health! Our Congressional delegation needs to hear their constituents’ voices on this issue. The timing of this event is important because votes on budget funding for women’s health will very likely be that day, and votes on abortion access won’t be far behind.

For details, see http://plannedparenthoodaction…

Sunday, April 10, 3 – 5 p.m.

“An Emancipation Celebration & Unveiling of the Richmond Slave Trail Markers”

Lumpkin’s Slave Jail Archeological Site

(located in Northwest parking lot of Richmond Main Street Train Station)

1500 E. Franklin Street

Richmond

Free Parking

The Richmond City Council Slave Trail Commission and the City of Richmond will formally unveil 17 markers throughout the Shockoe bottom area that help tell the historic journey, human impact and the role Richmond played in the tragic history of slavery. The event is free and open to the public. Speakers and guests include Governor McDonnell, Mayor Jones, members of the Richmond City Council and the Slave Trail Commission and more. For more information contact Chairman, Richmond City Council Slave Trail Commission Delores L. McQuinn at 804.698.1070 or deldmcquinn@house.virginia.gov.

Saturday, April 16, noon – 3 p.m.

“9500 Liberty” Film Screening

Byrd Theatre in Carytown

Richmond

Prince William County, VA, became ground zero in America’s battle over immigration policy when local officials adopted a law requiring police officers to question anyone they had “probable cause” to suspect was an undocumented immigrant. This happened years before similar events in Arizona. The documentary reveals the startling vulnerability of a local government when targeted by national anti-immigration networks using the internet to influence lawmakers and citizens. Alarmed by the climate of fear and racial division which resulted, residents resisted with YouTube videos, downhill meetings and a virtual showdown in the county seat of government.

Co-sponsored by Richmond Teachers for Social Justice, ACLU of Virginia, Richmond Peace Education Center, Colaborando Juntos, Wayside Center for Popular Education, Virginia Center for Teaching of International Studies, and VCU Masters of Social Work Student Association. A $2 donation is suggested.

Monday, April 18 · 4:00pm – 6:00pm

From Tiffany M. Word:

Tax Day Action

Chester Post Office

12300 Rock Hill Road

Chester, VA 23831

Same-sex couples are denied the 1,049+ federal rights that heterosexual couples have through marriage. The raging inequality prevents same-sex couples from filing taxes together and having the same tax benefits heterosexual couples enjoy. This will be a PEACEFUL event, simply showing support for our fellow human beings. Feel free to bring signs of support, or just stand with us.

Join the lineage of abolitionists, suffragists, and civil right activists by taking a stand for the LGBT citizens. Show that you care. Support marriage equality each and every day.

RSVP at https://www.facebook.com/event…

Sunday, June 12, 11 am – 6 pm

Capital Pride

Washington D.C.

Join Equality Virginia at Capital Pride 2011 Festival in Washington D.C. Sunday June 12.

Pride festivities run from June 2-12.and for more information about the festival and other Capital Pride festivities, please visit www.capitalpride.org.

Equality Virginia is always looking enthusiastic and energetic people to join us in spreading equality. If you’re interested in volunteering with us, please contact us at info@equalityvirginia.org

Visit http://www.vademocrats.org/gol… to find when and where your local Democratic Committee meets this month.

TAKE ACTION:

From NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia and Planned Parenthood Advocates of Virginia:

Last week Governor McDonnell  was very busy limiting women’s reproductive health care choices:

1.  He signed into law an order for new restrictions on first-trimester abortion providers.  The Virginia Board of Health will be required to institute new regulations requiring facilities which provide abortions to make medically unnecessary and expensive hospital-level changes to their facilities.  This may prevent some providers from continuing to provide the service. According to NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia, in the coming months the governor’s administration will expedite the enactment of the law with an  “emergency regulation” process which will provide little opportunity for public comment. For more information, contact NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia at info@naralva.org.

2.  He proposed an amendment to HB 2434 directing that in the health insurance exchanges created under the Affordable Care Act, no insurance policy will be permitted to cover abortion services except in cases of rape, incest or to save the life of the mother. The General Assembly reconvenes on Wednesday April 6 to consider the governor’s amendment (to HB 2434). If the amendment passes, private insurers will be blocked from offering comprehensive reproductive health coverage, and women will be prohibited from buying abortion coverage with their own private funds. Talking points from Planned Parenthood Advocates of Virginia (summarized):

– The Affordable Care Act specifically states that no state or federal tax dollars may be spent on abortion coverage in the exchanges, except in the cases of rape, incest or a threat to the mother’s life. The ACA provides that individuals may elect to by abortion coverage from insurers who offer it by paying for that coverage with separate funds. The governor’s directive goes beyond the ACA restriction by prohibiting even optional coverage.

In the current market, most health plans provide coverage of abortion in their broader health care packages. The choice of choosing a plan which includes abortion coverage is currently left up to the purchaser.

– The governor’s directive will put women’s health at risk and impose unnecessary financial burdens on women who elect abortion. If a pregnant woman is diagnosed w ith cancer, she might want to end the pregnancy in order to begin chemotherapy.  A woman may want to end a pregnancy due to a fetal anomaly.

– In both of these cases, if the woman would have to pay for the care she needs with out-of-pocket funds, which could amount to several thousand dollars.

– Abortion is a legal medical procedure, and most insurance plans already cover it. In this time of economic uncertainty and hardship, Virginia should be doing everything it can to provide help to women and families. The last thing we should do is take important health coverage away from them.

For more information contact Planned Parenthood Advocates of Virginia at ppav@ppfa.org.

You can TAKE ACTION by contacting the governor’s office at 804.786.2211 or by using the webform e-mail at http://www.governor.virginia.g…

Also, the U.S. Senate is scheduled to vote on the budget, including legislation that would bar all federal funding for Planned parenthood health centers. Please call your Senators and urge them to stand firm against this assault. You can call 202.559.1164 to be connected or go to the Planned Parenthood action site at https://secure.ppaction.org/si… where you can also read talking points on the issue.

From Equality Virginia:

Delegate Bob Marshall and anti-GLBT groups are pressuring Governor McDonnell to remove a provision governing child placing agencies. The proposed provision (Section 22VAC40-131-170 B) would prevent discrimination against potential GLBT foster parents and adopters. The proposal was presented at public hearing in February with no significant objections. Organizations which have consistently worked against extending any non-discrimination provisions to gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and transgender Virginians have launched an e-mail campaign to register negative comments about the proposed provision. Equality Virginia has written to the Chair of the State Board of Social Services (with a copy to Governor McDonnell) asking that the proposed rules be published in final form without changes. Read the letter here: http://www.equalityvirginia.or… You can voice your own opinion about the proposal by contacting Governor McDonnell at 804.786.2211 or by using the webform e-mail at http://www.governor.virginia.g…

From Virginia Autism Project:

Governor McDonnell proposed a potentially fatal amendment to The Virginia Autism Insurance Bill, and the Virginia Senate is scheduled to vote on the amendment late in the day Wednesday. Please contact the legislators who voted yes on the original bill, and ask them to pass the bill without the Governor’s amendment. You can paste the following recipients into your message:

district39@senate.virginia.gov , district14@senate.virginia.gov , district29@senate.virginia.gov , district25@senate.virginia.gov , district21@senate.virginia.gov , district24@senate.virginia.gov, district33@senate.virginia.gov , district17@senate.virginia.gov  , district32@senate.virginia.gov , district02@senate.virginia.gov , district18@senate.virginia.gov , district37@senate.virginia.gov , district16@senate.virginia.gov , district09@senate.virginia.gov , district01@senate.virginia.gov , district05@senate.virginia.gov , district03@senate.virginia.gov , district06@senate.virginia.gov , district34@senate.virginia.gov , district38@senate.virginia.gov , district36@senate.virginia.gov , district13@senate.virginia.gov , district35@senate.virginia.gov , district12@senate.virginia.gov , district28@senate.virginia.gov , district30@senate.virginia.gov , district10@senate.virginia.gov , district40@senate.virginia.gov , district31@senate.virginia.gov , district27@senate.virginia.gov , district15@senate.virginia.gov

PETITIONS:



From Sunlight Foundation:

There is a disturbing trend across the countries of states rolling back transparency of government information and clouding the ability of the public to see what their government and its officials are doing. Sign this open letter to our nation’s governors to demand they stop the rollback of transparency laws:

http://sunlightfoundation.com/…

Reproductive Rights:

http://stopthewaronwomen.com/e…

ANNOUNCEMENTS:



Congressman Randy Forbes has moved his district office from Colonial Heights to Chesterfield. The new contact information is:

9401 Courthouse Road, Suite 201

Chesterfield 23832

804.318.1363

804.318.1013 fax

Read us at http://www.bluevirginia.us/use…

and http://www.dailykos.com/blog/A…

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